Saturday, May 5, 2012

Milestones are funny ol' things...

I have always embraced each and every milestone with my first born. I was so proud that he could count to twenty before his second birthday. I was over the moon that he learnt to read so quickly and I celebrate that he still continues to devour books. The first day of pre-school and his subsequent "graduation" moved me to happy tears. His years throughout primary school were successful and he showed a natural aptitude to academics. His transition to high school went very smoothly. 

Then came puberty..... I accepted this milestone with ease and I grinned with amusement when it was no longer cool to be naked around the parents. I gently rubbed his face after his first shave and swallowed back that huge lump in my throat at the realisation of how fast 16 years have flown by! I am delighted with his first girlfriend. I love his friends and openly welcome them into our home (and ensure that the fridge is stocked up with food!). 

My first born has two and a half years left of high school and then it will be time for him to spread his wings. It is not a milestone that I look forward to; however, it will be one that I acknowledge with grace.

My second born is a completely different story!!

From the moment I realised that something was going on with my boy, I became super sensitive to milestones and the fact that he wasn't walking along a typical developmental pathway. Throw autism into the mix and milestones went for a loop de loop! Oh, how I cried over delayed crawling, walking, climbing, playing and lack of interaction (for some strange reason the lack of speech has never bothered me!). I sobbed my eyes out that mainstream schooling wasn't working for him. The day that he was due to join his big brother at big school was gut wrenching. I watched the new kids bounce into their new classrooms and I cried ugly tears that my little boy would not be joining them.

I constantly compared my boy to other children and it hurt badly. Each milestone became a burden to bear, a reminder that my child was not like other children his age. The gap widened quickly and my boy was left behind. I dreaded each birthday because it meant another year had gone by and that there was less hope of catching up to his peers. Damn milestones!

Eventually, I had to re-adjust my thinking and come to terms with my child's development (or lack thereof!). For the sake of my own wellness I had to move on.... I had to stop thinking about where my boy should be and think about where he is now!

The change of focus has helped me tremendously. I have let go of the weight that sat upon my shoulders. I feel free to accept my boy as he is. I have waved goodbye to that pressure of getting my boy to perform. I no longer compare him with his peers. I now take great delight in every little accomplishment, no matter how small it may be. 

My boy is reaching his milestones.... the early ones that he missed out on! They may not be the same milestones as his peers, however, they are his own and that is what is important!

As for me, the next biggie is the day that my son turns 13...... bring it on!!!!

" Every small victory leads to even greater ones; and some of the seemingly smallest accomplishments may end up being what really matters."  Nicole Beurkens, PhD

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Di originates from New Zealand and now resides in South Africa. She is a middle aged mum who tries not to take life too seriously. She loves a daily cappuccino, reading chick lit and playing online scrabble!  Di blogs at The Bright Side of Life.


  1. My children are not the same age as yours, but I get you all the way. It's hard to accept the truth about your child, but it is the best thing to do.

  2. My boy is reaching his milestones.... the early ones that he missed out on! They may not be the same milestones as his peers, however, they are his own and that is what is important!
    THEY ARE HIS OWN!! Going back and giving him that chance!! So excited as always to see Nick and MUM continue to *accomplish*!

  3. @Petra ~ I know that you get it. Yes, at the end of the day life becomes easier when you accept the truth. You and me.... we are on the same road!! x

    @Kathy ~ You make me laugh! Thank you for being the person you are, I couldn't do it without you! x

  4. Put my special girl next to other 15 year olds and it's like she's from another planet. But on days like today when she was dressed up and just wanted to dance along to all the music with the other teens - but from her wheelchair - I know that she's not so different after all. She's just her own special smiley self x

    1. Blue Sky, I saw that clip and LOVED it. I was dancing along with Smiley! :-)

  5. A lovely, hopeful and positive post. Acceptance and celebration of all milestones whenever they happen is wonderful. Enjoy your boy. it is SO evident that you do :-)

    xxx Jazzy

    1. Hi Jazzy, thanks for your comment. I do, I really do enjoy him... xx

  6. Wonderful post - I love ( and share) your positive and joyous take on life

    1. Thank you, Floortime Lite Mama
      I appreciate your comment and your support. xx

  7. Such a cheering post Di. Although the gap between our special needs children & their peers widens as they get older, don't you think that, conversely, we become more accepting?

  8. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing. Comparing our kids to others is so natural - and yet so tough! Enjoy each moment! :)

  9. @Jane ~ Oh yes, definitely... we become more accepting, which in turn makes life so much easier ! :)

    @Becky ~ It is very touch in those early days! Thank you for your kind words.

    Thank you for your comments. x

  10. I agree - once the anxiety is diminished the whole family benefits, especially perhaps the child in question as they are quite sensitive to energies...

    1. Hi Karen
      Thanks for your comment. Loved your 'meet the parents' in the Special Kids mag! :)

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